MAINE, USA — June 17: It's the day fitness gurus have been waiting for. With added safety measures, workout gyms are now allowed to reopen across Maine.
Brayton Chase, the owner of Maniac Community Fitness in South Portland, summed up the feeling of reopening after a long wait.
“Super excited. Almost was like a little kid, couldn’t sleep,” Chase said.
At Maniac Community Fitness, people have to sign up ahead of time and use hand sanitizer before entering the gym.
“And then they are assigned a station throughout the gym, and in that station, all the equipment is laid out for them,” Chase said.
According to the guidelines laid out by the state, people must maintain a six foot distance from one another while working out. People are also required to wear face masks if they are any closer than 14 feet apart.
At Momentum Performance and Wellness in South Portland, people entering the gym are asked a series of questions related to COVID-19. Clients will also have their temperature taken.
“We have a lot of signage up on the equipment talking about what you should be doing for hygiene and cleaning the equipment,” Owner Chris Pribish said.
Both Chase and Pribish said these last few months have been very difficult on their businesses. But they also accept that, for now, changing their models is what they need to do.
Governor Janet Mills' administration says health experts recognize the role of exercise in promoting mental health, physical fitness, and cognitive development. Reducing exposure to respiratory droplets through physical distancing and face coverings, as well as increased hand hygiene and avoidance of shared and common touch items, remain the primary tools to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Because of the increased possibility of infection through droplets, vigorous exercise in closely confined spaces should be avoided.
Some general guidance includes:
- All staff, vendors, and patrons are required to maintain 6 feet of physical distance from individuals who are not part of their household group whenever possible
- Face coverings are required when physical distancing is difficult to maintain. Because staff are in an enclosed space for a prolonged period, it is necessary to wear face coverings at all times even when physically distanced.
- Outdoor gym and fitness activities are encouraged. If an indoor space cannot accommodate the gathering limit without complying with the distancing requirement, attendance must be limited to allow for such compliance.
- Ensure adequate supplies to support healthy hygiene and cleaning procedures
- Improve ventilation
- Modify building traffic to minimize contact
- Stagger sessions if possible
- Restrict use of water fountains
- Locker rooms should be closed except for restrooms
- Showers, saunas, hot tubs should remain closed
- Clean and disinfect bathrooms, equipment, and high-touch areas frequently
- Screen patrons for COVID-19 symptoms
Click here for the complete COVID-19 prevention checklist for gyms and fitness centers.